Village Leaders

Louis Grossman - Developed Method to Structure Bratenahl

10519 Lake Shore Boulevard
Judge Louis J. Grossman
Judge Louis J. Grossman

Judge Louis Joel Grossman, a prominent member of the Cleveland community and John D. Rockefeller’s attorney, offered a method of structuring Bratenahl to prevent the intrusion of unwanted types of land use by having deeds to every piece of property in Glenville on the Lake be revised to restrict land use to single-family homes for fifty years. His solution required an astonishing leap of faith from the property owners. One-hundred-fifty owners conveyed the deeds to their homes to Guardian Savings & Trust Co. The deeds were returned to the owners with added provisions limiting the use of the property for residence use only for a term of fifty years.

Louis Grossman was born on Bolivar Road in Cleveland on January 16, 1867, the son of Marcus and Hannah Grossman. He attended Cleveland Public Schools and graduated from Columbia University with an A.B. degree in 1885 and later received an LL.B degree from the same university in 1887.

He married Lillian (Lillie) Meyers on October 15, 1890. Lillie was born on August 19, 1871. They had three children: Marc Justin, Vera (Berger), and Gladys (Littman). Both Vera and Gladys attended Bratenahl schools.

Grossman was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1887 and joined the firm of Mix, Noble & White. In 1916, he became associated with his son, Marc Grossman, under the name of Grossman & Grossman.

He practiced law for fifty-three years as a senior partner, specializing in commercial, probate, and corporation law. His reputation for uprightness was unquestioned, and philanthropic boards and community organizations sought him as a member.

Along with judge J. J. Sullivan, chairman of the Central National Bank, Grossman was a principal advisor to John D. Rockefeller for his Standard Oil Trust. After Rockefeller had moved to New York, he still returned to Forest Hills each summer. Grossman and Sullivan would meet Rockefeller at the train station and accompanied him to his home.

Grossman was a director of Guardian Trust Co., president of American Lawyers Co., and a member of the Cleveland and American bar association. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Grossman was one of the first presidents of the Excelsior Club, which merged with the Oakwood Country Club. Other clubs included City Club, The Country, Excelsior, and Town clubs. He was a veteran Mason.

After being ill for ten weeks, Louis died at his home on August 20, 1941. Lillie died on September 9, 1967, and buried alongside Louis in Mayfield Cemetery.